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Crypto Prices Go Haywire on Coinbase, CoinMarketCap.com

By BLOOMBERG

Prices of cryptocurrencies listed on Coinbase Global Inc. and popular data provider CoinMarketCap.com briefly went haywire Tuesday, with many tokens showing astronomical gains that sent users gushing about huge windfalls and others wondering what happened. 

The issue has been resolved, CoinMarketCap.com said in a statement. Coinbase, the biggest U.S. crypto exchange, said the same on Twitter, noting that trading wasn’t impacted. A few minutes later, Coinbase said it’s still investigating asset price and trade difficulties in Coinbase Wallet, which allows customers to manage their crypto assets. Neither company provided an explanation of what went wrong. 

“Everyone tunes into those disruptions, so to the extent they all use the same data source, and so when there’s a problem and prices are really off, that can create herd behavior to drive investment decisions,” said Rosario Ingargiola, founder of Bosonic, a platform for crypto clearing and settlement.

Technical glitches have long plagued the cryptocurrency world, with many exchanges often having trouble processing transactions during period of high trading activity. The feature of anonymity that has been a selling point since the development of cryptocurrencies has also made it difficult to resolve hacks and thefts. 

“We haven’t found any evidence yet to suggest that today’s glitch was caused by an external party,” CoinMarketCap.com said in a statement, as many on Twitter speculated that the site was hacked. CoinMarketCap.com is owned by Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange.

Coinbase said in a tweet earlier that some customers were seeing inflated values for “non-tradable” crypto assets and that it was a display issue. Still, customers were circulating screen shots of the gains and their suddenly increased balances online.   

CoinMarketCap made jokes about the issue in its Twitter feed, while some users said they almost had a “heart attack” when seeing the abnormal prices. Some also joked that the inflated prices showed where crypto will be in year 2026.

Not everyone thought the glitch was funny. 

“If it keeps happening, people will go elsewhere for data,” said Aaron Brown, a crypto investor who writes for Bloomberg Opinion.

Dayang Norazhar

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